The celebrations marking the 175th anniversary of the YMCA, which took place in England from August 04 to 08, 2019, were attended massively by his members coming from 119 countries where the movement is located. They were able to meet themselves and exchange in a friendly atmosphere, on all actions of the movement that are conducted around the world.
The opening ceremony of this event was attended by the President of the UN General Assembly and the representative of the Secretary General in charge of youth issues at the UN. This was an opportunity for both guests to compliment the achievements of the YMCA in the world.
Following the speech of the President of the World Alliance of YMCAs Patricia PELTON, that of the Secretary General, Carlos SANVEE, addressed mainly the leaders. He especially wanted to remind them of their commitment for the upcoming events of the movement, especially in perspective, the 200th anniversary of the World Alliance to be celebrated in 2044.
Cameroon-YMCA was also present at this event. An interview conducted with its National President, allowed to trace back some high points of this great celebration.
1- What were the high points of the 175th anniversary of the YMCA in which you participated ?
First of all, I thank God who has made possible the participation of Cameroon-YMCA to this celebration of the 175th anniversary of the YMCA celebrated here in England. My regret is for those of us who did not get their entry visas to London or who received their visas late and could not travel.
In terms of the highlights, I was able to participate in exchanges between the participants and the descendants of Sir George Williams. One of her great daughters also took the floor to salute his works and his achievements. I had the opportunity to meet the descendants of John RALEIGH MOTT who was also a great builder of the YMCA and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946, for his work in establishing and strengthening international Protestant Christian student organizations that worked to promote peace. Through the stands at the place of the event, I had the pleasure of revisiting the story of Sir George Williams and the whole movement. This allowed us to learn a lot about his life and his stories.
During conversations with our usual partners, we explored new perspectives of collaboration. This has allowed us to realize that we are not behind developments, generally. Cameroon-YMCA does some interesting things that mark and interest our partners.
2- What can Cameroon-YMCA remember from this event?
What I personally remember about this unique event is that the YMCA is an amazing movement and it’s inspired by God. It has a great capacity for mobilization and our Almighty God is the pillar. We need to be more prepared to play a key and major role in the development of this great movement not only in Africa but around the world. Our challenge is therefore, beyond solidifying our achievements, to share and export our skills and qualities to other parts of the world.
What we must also remember is that the YMCA is a truly Christian movement because from my exchanges with Africans, Germans, English, Indians, Danes, Americans etc., I realized that all of them claim, barring a few exceptions, to be children of Jesus Christ and have been able to position themselves as such while defending their faith. This is a very encouraging remark that should naturally push Cameroon-YMCA to remain focused, and never to be absent again in the future for such activities both at the level of the African Alliance and those of the Global Alliance, in order to carry the voice of Cameroon. The Cameroonian flag floating in the middle of others can only make us proud and we give thanks to God who allows all this.
Our presence in London, despite all the difficulties we have encountered, was nothing short of miraculous. God wanted Cameroon-YMCA to be represented. I thank the determination of our members and partners who supported us in a variety of ways. To God be the glory. May they all be one.